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The annual fundraiser that uses wine barrels to collect money for Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank purchases launches next week.

Walla Walla Valley wineries, nonprofits and business partners will host a 5 p.m. “load the barrel” ceremony to begin the campaign Wednesday at Olive Marketplace & Café.

A second barrel will be moved among various local businesses until the end of the campaign mid-December, according to an announcement from the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

The money collected is used to buy food items and perishables for those in need.

Since its start in 2011, the campaign has collected nearly $93,000.

“This campaign provides a wide range of participation opportunities, whether you’re emptying loose change into a wine barrel or bidding on a trip during the silent auction,” said Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance Executive Director Heather Unwin.,

The BMAC Food Bank distributes more than 870,000 pounds of food to pantries throughout Walla Walla County annually, relying largely on connections and partnerships throughout the community, Jeff Mathias, Food Bank director said in a prepared statement.

For every dollar donated, BMAC returns $6 in food assistance to the community, he said

In addition to the auction and barrels, donation canisters will be placed at wineries throughout the Walla Walla Valley from Nov. 1 until early December.

An auction and wine reception will be held Dec. 7 at Corliss Estates. Wine Alliance members and partners donate special bottles and experiences to be sold in the silent auction. Tickets for that event cost $50 and are available online.

The fundraising efforts are a collaboration with numerous business partners.

From Oct. 25 to Dec. 7, raffle tickets will be sold for a chance at two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere Alaska flies.

Additional prizes include a one-night stay and dining voucher at The Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center.

Only 500 raffle tickets are printed. Each costs $10, available from Barrel Full of Money steering committee members or through BMAC at 529-4980.

The drawing will take place during the Dec. 7 auction at Corliss.

Image: Jeff Turner via Flickr; unedited

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, vickihillhouse@wwub.com or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VickiHillhouse.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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